Now that I'm back from China, things have been strange. I've spent a good while just readjusting to life here in the US and, while I'm certainly glad to be home, I've come back at possibly the worst time. The worst time, not just for me, but for our country as a whole. We're more divided and more threatened than we've been in a very long time, and I'd be lying to say that I don't think about it.
During this whole time I've been back I've been trying to readjust, to search for work and writing gigs, but a big portion of my time (and I mean a surprising amount) has been spent doing something I love... but not something I love enough.
For those who know me, you might be familiar with the Smash Fiction Podcast. They were an awesome podcast run by some good friends and it was through them that I began running a weekly TTRPG session based off the old 1980s Marvel RPG system called... -trumpet sounds- Extraordinary League. It's been a challenge to run, not just for being a tabletop game, but for being one that is, at its core, Fanfiction the Game. Where in a normal D&D game I might be able to come up with alluring and deep characters that can surprise and enchant my players, in League I'm limited to existing fiction. No surprises when Jafar from Aladdin steps into the room and asks how you like the pudding. Yeah... he's the bad guy. But I've been making it work for over a year now, with three groups no less.
The problem is that with three groups, all running in the same world, all having games weekly, I've had to stretch my creativity in ways that I've never done before, and while that sounds good on paper, in practice, it's been exhausting. If I want to take the players to the cantina on Tatooine, that's fine, but I better research the crap out Star Wars lore to make sure the experience is authentic to the source. And where in other games or just writing in general, if I need a good villain I would craft one to suit my needs, I now have to trawl through TVtropes for hours to find one that both meets my criteria and whom I won't have to watch three seasons of an obscure anime to do justice to. It's fun, it really is, but well... I've been back since August and this is only the second blog post I've made. All my time is spent either researching for League or dreading that I'm not researching for League. And my players, I think, can sense this. My work has been subpar, even a little slapdash, and that's no fun for them or me.
The worst part, however, is that it's taking away precious time for the other things that matter. I hesitate to say that League doesn't matter, because it most certainly does! I've met wonderful new friends, people who, for some reason, care enough about me to pitch in together to help me recoup some of the cost of the several plane tickets I purchased to get home. People who made it possible for my wife and I to get out of China and back here. They're wonderful. But even they've told me before that life comes first. Health comes first.
So what's the lesson? I haven't touched my novel in any serious capacity in months. I've neglected self-care for at least as long. I'm watching as people around me are making strides in their lives, things they should rightfully be proud of, while I'm standing stagnant once again. I don't want to do that. The lesson is... prioritize.
Prioritize doesn't always mean casting off the meaningless things and doing the meaningful things, sometimes it means setting aside the important things to do the more important things. I have a dream. This website is my conduit to you all for sharing that dream. I have plans in place that I cannot abandon. So I'm making this my day zero. It's time to write. It's time to plot. It's time to plan. It's time to fix this silly website so it works on mobile better. And it's time to put my dreams, the things I hope will support my family, front and center. I know my League friends will understand, no matter how much that part of my brain continues niggling at me that they'll be disappointed. They'll understand because they're friends.
I'm not abandoning anything. I'm prioritizing. This right here, this website, this portal to my work, comes first now. And if you've somehow read this far, well, thanks for being here. I promise I'll start putting things on this website worth your time.
Until next time--
Be Excellent To Each Other.
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.